Review: An Italian Christmas Carol (DopoLavoroTeatrale/Istituto Italaino di Cultura)

Photo of Marissa Zinni and Daniele Bartolini by Raylene Turner DLT presents an immersive theatrical experience for a solo audience member in Toronto

I’ll let you in on a secret … I loathe holiday-themed shows. Their cloying, artificial sentimentality is enough to make my cold, cynical heart mutter “bah humbug.” But when DLT (DopoLavoroTeatrale), the theatre company that brought us amazing, audience-specific experiences like The Stranger and The Invisible City, announced its new show, An Italian Christmas Carol—an immersive take on the Dickens story with an Italian twist—I was intrigued and overcame my antipathy toward Christmas shows to check it out. I’m so glad I did. Continue reading Review: An Italian Christmas Carol (DopoLavoroTeatrale/Istituto Italaino di Cultura)

Review: A Christmas Carol (Ross Petty Productions)

A Christmas Carol is a “wonderfully goofy” take on the Dickens’ classic, now on stage in Toronto

Produced by Ross Petty, A Christmas Carol— on stage at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre — is a colourful and silly take on the Charles Dickens classic. As you may know, the miser Ebenezer Scrooge meets his dead friend Marley who warns him that Scrooge will be visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. These meetings turn out to be transformative for Scrooge: he ends up becoming generous and loving.

Continue reading Review: A Christmas Carol (Ross Petty Productions)

Review: Instant (Geordie Productions/Young People’s Theatre)

Leah Fong and Michelle Rambharose in InstantThe Young People’s Theatre brings Instant to the Toronto stage

The Toronto theatre scene has something for everybody, including a wealth of performances for kids and teens. Instant, written by Erin Shields and currently being presented by Young People’s Theatre, explores the pressures of fitting in and succeeding in high school as well as the perils of social media. My companion was a 13-year old in grade 8, and I think she was the perfect age for it. Continue reading Review: Instant (Geordie Productions/Young People’s Theatre)

Review: Charlie: Son of Man (Echo Productions)

Echo Productions brings old story new life, now on stage in Toronto

Charlie: Son of Man is a new, original play from Echo Productions depicting the Charlie Manson murders and trial, with “a modern twist.” The twist, as far as I could see, was simply the interjection of cell phones into the action, but they were used powerfully. The cell phones provided humour, visual effects, and a point: that we shouldn’t write off such horror stories as distant incidents in the past. The show is also marked by inspired movement pieces, and passionate performances from all. Continue reading Review: Charlie: Son of Man (Echo Productions)

Playlistings in Toronto for the week of December 4th

Shows That Caught Our Eye in Toronto the Week of December 4th, 2017

With the holiday season approaching, what better time to give the gift of entertainment to a loved one? Toronto audiences are spoiled for choices this week, with several new shows premiering on our stages. Our assistant editor Jess is here to choose her most anticipated shows (in red). Check them out below the cut:

Continue reading Playlistings in Toronto for the week of December 4th

Review: The Magic Victrola (Canadian Opera Company)

This weekend I had the opportunity to take my five-year-old son to his first opera. Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Magic Victrola was at least as much of a delight for me as it was for the kids. My son is already a seasoned theatre goer, being a regular patron of the Young People’s Theatre (YPT) and other children’s programming about town. Opera however is not usually seen as a kid’s genre, despite the world of fantasy and wonder that we are often transported to on the operatic stage.
Continue reading Review: The Magic Victrola (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: Tapestry Briefs: Winter Shorts (Tapestry Opera)

Winter Shorts is an exciting tasting menu of what’s new and up-coming in Toronto opera

Tapestry Brief’s: Winter Shorts is like a flight of operatic amuse bouche, accompanied by wine pairings. Tapestry Opera’s program of shorts is a showcase of new works by composers and librettists that emerged from their 2016 Opera Lib Lab. The Composer-Librettist Laboratory pairs rising talent in an intensive workshop where works are developed “in a crucible” as Artistic Director Michael Mori puts it. Continue reading Review: Tapestry Briefs: Winter Shorts (Tapestry Opera)

Review: Never Swim Alone (Don’t Look Down Theatre Company)

beach with clothes, Never Swim AloneA zany battle of words and wits between two alpha opponents takes the stage in Toronto

Daniel MacIvor‘s play Never Swim Alone opened on Friday at The Commons Theatre. It’s produced by the two year old Don’t Look Down Theatre Company and it’s the first play they’ve produced that they didn’t write. It was a big night for them. They did a fine job.

The play is a 75-minute stylized 13 round match between two alpha males, Bill (Ryan James) and Frank (Cedric Martin) who were childhood best friends, to see who is “the first man”. The Referee (Tyshia Drake) oversees the contest and determines the winner of each round. Continue reading Review: Never Swim Alone (Don’t Look Down Theatre Company)

Review: Heisenberg (Canadian Stage)

David Schurmann and Carly Street in HeisenbergThis tale of a chance meeting is charming and “gently funny”, on stage in Toronto

The Canadian Stage production of Simon StephensHeisenberg had its Canadian premiere at the Berkeley Street Theatre on Thursday. It’s the final play that Matthew Jocelyn is directing as Artistic and General Director and it’s a terrific note to end on.

The play is an unconventional love story that unfolds on an almost bare stage. There is nothing to distract from the acting which makes or breaks the piece, and the acting was fabulous. Continue reading Review: Heisenberg (Canadian Stage)